On the possible quantum role of serotonin in consciousness.
J Integr Neurosci. 2015 Sep;14(3):295-308
Authors: Tonello L, Cocchi M, Gabrielli F, Tuszynski JA
Cell membrane's fatty acids (FAs) have been carefully investigated in neurons and platelets in order to study a possible connection to psychopathologies. An important link between the FA distribution and membrane dynamics appears to emerge with the cytoskeleton dynamics. Microtubules (MTs) in particular have been implicated in some recent quantum consciousness models and analyses. The recently proposed quantum model of Craddock et al. (2014) states that MTs possess structural and functional characteristics that are consistent with collective quantum coherent excitations in the aromatic groups of their tryptophan residues. These excitations are consistent with a clocking mechanism on a sub-nanosecond scale. This mechanism and analogous phenomena in light-harvesting complexes in plants and bacteria, are induced by photons and have been touted as evidence of quantum processes in biology. A possible source of intra-cellular photons could be membrane lipid peroxidation processes, so the FA profile could then be linked to the bio-photon emission. The model presented here suggests new ways to understand the role serotonin plays in relation to FAs. In plants, tryptophan conversion of light to exciton energy can participate in the directional orientation of leaves toward sunlight. Since serotonin is structurally similar to tryptophan, in the human brain, neurons could use tryptophan to capture photons and also use serotonin to initiate movement toward the source of light. Hence, we postulate two possible new roles for serotonin: (1) as an antioxidant, in order to counter-balance the oxidative effect of FAs, and (2) to participate in quantum interactions with MTs, in the same way as anesthetics and psychoactive compounds have been recently shown to act. In this latter case, the FA profile could provide an indirect measure of serotonin levels.
PMID: 26227538 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]